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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
`I Saw 3 Ships'
Come Sailing by, sailing by in the morning!

My three favorite Christmas albums are George Winston's December; the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack by the Vince Guaraldi trio; and Elizabeth Schwartzkoph's Christmas. Oh, and the original Amahl and the Night Visitors. The latter was two I grew up with,[1] and the Schwartzkoph is the only one I don't, alas, own.

felt, tassels, machine applique with a bit of hand bead embroidery. Photographed (& made?) in 2010. More of my crappy image manipulation, 06jan14:)

But, even though I haven't much of a head for music, I can still hear her voice singing ‘I Saw Three Ships’ —I probably liked it for several reasons: she sang it very fast, and to my untrained ears it showed some virtuosity; but also, my parents were sailors, and boats were a part of my childhood, so I definitely identified with that aspect.

They went through a series of boats, ending with an Etchells 22, an elegant and graceful day sailor. Some years later, on vacation on the western side of Michigan, I saw a fleet of these boats heading out to race: but whether that memory came before or after that stocking I couldn't tell you. But as in the google images most were white. My parents’ was red, which is a christmasy color, so I made all three red which frankly is unlikely; but then so is The Three Kings coming to see Christ Jesus in boats (even in the mythology of Christmas, where they're ‘properly’ depicted on camels, yes?) In any event I combined these two ideas for this stocking, referencing the goldfish that appeared in two of the earlier stockings.

[1]With also, I believe, Gene Autry's Christmas, so that version of Rudolph will always be the ‘correct’ one:) We didn't have the Charlie Brown soundtrack, but we watched it every year on tv, along with Frosty the Snowman, and of course Rudolph the Reindeer. Those were as much a part of my childhood as going to mass and decorating with those old fashioned crinkled metal icicles and blown silver ornaments the ‘smaltzy German Christmas tree’ as my mother called it, ignoring my complaints that it wasn't properly co-ordinated. Stockings like these we were allowed to open first thing, so our parents (who would've been up late the night before, wrapping and possibly assembling gifts, could sleep in a bit.)